AMC Taps Programming Vet Sorcher

Veteran cable programmer Rob Sorcher's task at American Movie Classics will be to execute the network's new strategy of becoming more contemporary and broadening its audience.

Sorcher has joined AMC as senior vice president of programming and production, officials said last week. He'll report to general manager Noreen O'Loughlin, and will be responsible for all aspects of the service's original programming and production, as well as overseeing development, packaging and scheduling.

Sorcher has held top posts at a variety of cable networks. He was general manager of USA Network for roughly seven months, until March of last year, when former Comedy Central president Doug Herzog was brought in as president of USA.

Prior to that, starting in June 1999, Sorcher had a stint as executive vice president of programming and development for Fox Family Channel, during its stormy period under the ownership of Haim Saban and News Corp.

Sorcher joined Fox Family from Cartoon Network, where he served as general manager for four years. Sorcher built Cartoon's original-programming division, which developed such shows as The Powerpuff Girls.
He also launched the network's online division.

AMC, which will move toward carrying a full load of commercials this fall, is in transition. Its plans are to move its older classic movies to a new diginet and run more recent films in their place.

"We've acquired more contemporary titles and want to make AMC a more contemporary destination," Sorcher said. "It's a powerful brand, and my job is to evolve that and create a voice that will help broaden its scope as an American entertainment channel.

"We have to figure out how to keep the best DNA of AMC, but also go forward."

The network has expressed a renewed commitment to original programming and to finding signature shows, which Sorcher said he's also excited about. But he couldn't yet say what percentage of AMC's lineup will eventually consist of originals.

AMC is effectively relinquishing its title as a commercial-free venue for vintage movies to Turner Classic Movies.

Sorcher will be filling a vacancy left for two years, when former head of programming Marc Juris was named general manager of AMC. Juris never filled his old programming slot when he was promoted.

In January, Juris became president of MuchMusic USA, another Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. service.